Madsen says the news that we waste up to half the food we produce is a big reason to be cheerful:
Much is wasted in developing countries between farm and consumer because it is stored or transported badly, with some of it consumed by pests or allowed to rot. In the developed world there are over-zealous sell-by dates and a reluctance by retailers to take misshapen vegetables, or a tendency to promote over-buying by generous two-for-one offers.
All of this is much more easily redressed than trying to increase the output of food. If we attend to the wastage we can double the world’s supply of food without planting an extra acre. So there is no incentive to cut down rainforests or to engage in more intensive farming, no need for extra pesticides and fertilizers. All we have to do is stop wasting what we already produce.
He's right. I buy value-range produce because it is the same as the more expensive stuff, just a bit less attractive. Some companies have even made a virtue of imperfect-looking foods, like the promoters of the 'ugli fruit'. At farmer's markets, mud-encrusted fruit and vegetables are sold at a premium (they're more 'authentic', after all). Even if that doesn't really catch on, as Madsen says we're eating more pre-prepared food than ever. We might have found a very simple solution to a persistent problem.